Tips for riding with inexperienced cyclists

Make sure things run smoothly when taking your mate on their first road ride

Two cyclists riding along a country lane

Taking a friend on their first ride? The Endurance Coach’s Nick Thomas has some tips for both of you…


1. Riding skills

Old hand: Choose a relatively local route to begin with in case there are any issues during the ride. The newcomer will probably be nervous with unstable bike handling, so ride in front and encourage them to keep a safe distance behind you.

New rider: Cycling on the road can be daunting at first so begin by riding on wide, quiet roads. Be aware that cycling with others requires spatial awareness, skill and practice. Avoid changing your line or suddenly braking if possible.

2. Nutrition

Old hand: Check the newcomer has food and water with them and take some money just in case. Stop at regular intervals to ensure your friend is hydrating and fuelling adequately.

New rider: If new to exercise, ensure you’ve eaten before riding and that you take snacks and a water bottle with you. Drink regularly and stop to eat something after the first hour. Always take money with you in case you ‘bonk’ and need to stop to replace lost calories.

3. Clothing

Old hand: Advise your friend on the clothing they should wear and explain the consequences of getting cold and wet. They’ll likely be wearing non-cycling clothing at first so you may need to lend them basics like cycle shorts, gloves, and a gilet.

New rider: Because you’re moving at speed you’ll experience more wind chill than with other sports. The exact choice of clothing will depend on the weather but ensure you wear a baselayer and take a long-sleeved waterproof jacket. It’s better to be too warm than too cold.

4. Maintenance

Old hand: Check the newcomer’s bike before the ride and recommend basic maintenance tools they should take with them.

New rider: Your bike needs to be safe before you ride. Ensure nothing’s loose, brakes are working and tyres are inflated with no damage. Basic tools you should have include a pump, spare inner tube, puncture repair kit, tyre levers and a multi-tool. It’s also essential to know how to mend a puncture.